2-404 To Major General Frank M. Andrews, March 27, 1941

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: March 27, 1941

To Major General Frank M. Andrews

March 27, 1941 Washington, D.C.


Dear Andrews:

I received your letter, and while I have only had time to give it a hasty reading, I was very glad to get your views on the correlation of Air matters in Panama & the Caribbean.1 I have sent that portion of the letter out to be considered by the Staff. The latter part referring to Howard, of course I did not release.2

I was very sorry about his case, and for that reason talked to him personally and very frankly. The truth was, I found a complete unanimity of opinion everywhere in the War Department, Air office, G-1, G-3, War Plans,—all were so antagonistic, many so outraged by his high-handed methods, that it was not possible to do business with such a discordant situation existing. I was interested, and rather shocked to learn that he had no premonition of anything on his part at any time that might lead to hard feeling and lack of cooperation. For that reason especially I was completely frank in talking to him and giving him the reaction that I had obtained regarding his personality and its effect on cooperative staff action. All are agreed as to his ability and all seemed genuinely regretful that he prejudiced the usefulness of that ability by his personality.

I do not recall just where he has been sent, though I did know at the time; but I have him in mind to see if there is not some way to use his special engineering knowledge. However, unless a man can in some degree accommodate himself to the give and take of affairs it is very difficult to find a suitable place for him. You like him and he evidently is a tremendous admirer of yours, but I think you would suffer from his presence near you, and your efficiency be correspondingly affected. That is the trouble they found in each effort to place him. Arnold rather kept aloof, quite evidently because he felt that his marital relationship was a great embarrassment. My reactions came from almost every other direction.

I hope shortly that we can reach a more definite basis for the Caribbean situation, not only as relates to the Army and Navy but as to the handling of the Army aspects.3 I am hopeful that the conference now being conducted, or about to be conducted by General Emmons under the management of Chaney at Mitchel Field will be helpful in setting everybody off on the right foot. Now that we have settled the policy concerning Air defense, it is rather a simple proposition to develop it on a common basis throughout the Army.

The staff, and legislation, and British requirements, situation present a tremendously complicated task for us here in Washington. I spend, seemingly, most of my time before committees of Congress or in meetings outside the War Department, all of rather momentous importance. I made a recent quick inspection trip of about 3,000 miles, and I hope to get off to the West Coast in about two weeks. Heretofore it has been almost impossible for me to get out of Washington. I wish you could see the Army as it is now developing following your earlier struggles with organization. It is an inspiring spectacle.

Faithfully yours,

G. C. Marshall

Document Copy Text Source: Frank M. Andrews Papers, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Document Format: Typed letter signed.

1. Writing to Marshall, Andrews had criticized the Caribbean defense situation. In view of the threat posed by Axis-controlled airlines, he requested a defense set-up similar to London’s—complete with antiaircraft guns and barrage balloons. He noted, however, that, with the help of Pan American Airways, the United States had air routes to both the west and east coasts of South America. (Andrews to Marshall, March 12, 1941, LC/F. M. Andrews Papers.)

2. Commenting on the January 20, 1941, relief from the G-3 division of Colonel Clinton W. Howard (U.S.M.A., 1915). Andrews had observed that Howard was “really a brilliant aeronautical engineer,” but conceded that he was “impatient and often rude with those whose minds work slower.” Andrews insisted, nevertheless, that loyalty to him and his ideas, when he was assistant chief of staff, G-3, brought trouble to many of his assistants. “I have never tried to keep out of trouble, though I believe in tact and consideration and loyalty in dealing with all those below as well as above. I have never hesitated to present things as I see them. I have never had a resentment or ill thought against the War Department on the personal side, but I have fought the War Department, often against the advice of members of my staff. . . . I fought on questions of organization, of increased mechanization, in the early days of the GHQ Air Force for an air base in Puerto Rico, and many other things, but always in the family and with my cards on the table.” (Ibid.)

3. Discussing unity of command in the Canal Zone, Andrews had noted that naval activities “are primarily concerned with local defense and the Army commander who has the responsibility for that local defense should be supreme.” (Ibid.)

Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland, Sharon Ritenour Stevens, and Clarence E. Wunderlin, Jr.(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 2, “We Cannot Delay,” July 1, 1939-December 6, 1941 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), pp. 455-456,

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